A pair of forthcoming fight cards have received upgrades to them, and I’ll give my thoughts on the new bouts in the current MMA odds and ends.
Chance Rencountre vs. Kyle Stewart, UFC on ESPN+ 1 (UFC Fight Night 143)
We hopefully have the last fight card update for the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card this weekend, taking place Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Chance Rencountre eventually has his competitor as he will take on Octagon newcomer Kyle Stewart in a lightweight bout on the card. ESPN first broke news. Rencountre’s unique opponent Randy Brown was pulled from the card because of a rumored USADA flagging, while Dwight Grant was not cleared to fight due to an eye injury. Rencountre (12-3) lost a decision to Belal Muhammad in his UFC debut but had won four straight bouts before it. Stewart (11-1) has only lost once in his career, to high LFA prospect James Nakashima, and in his final bout conquered Braden Smith by decision. I believe most will look to fade Rencountre inside this area, and I expect Stewart to actually be a small favourite here despite making his UFC debut on short notice.
Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa, UFC 234
Lightweight Lando Vannata lately reupped a new four-fight contract with the UFC, and that he now returns to combat Octagon newcomer Marcos Rosa at UFC 234, occurring February 10 in Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne, Australia. ESPN broke the news. Vannata (9-3-2) just has a 1-3-2 album from the UFC, but almost every one of his battles was exciting which is why the UFC decided to bring him back. He’s coming from a draw against Matt Frevola, also has not actually won a fight as a KO win over John Makdessi in December 2016. Rosa (6-4) is a veteran of the Brazilian regional circuit and has really won three of the last four bouts by stoppage. Finally it feels like the UFC has reserved Vannata a winnable struggle, and I expect him to be a sizeable favorite to receive his hand raised.
Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith, UFC 234
And finally, Dong Hyun Ma (formerly known as”another” Dong Yun Kim) will return at UFC 234 if he takes on Devonte Smith in what should be an action-packed lightweight bout. Ma (16-8-3) is 3-2 overall from the UFC and is now riding a three-fight win series including a notable TKO win over Takanori Gomi along with a decision win over Damien Brown. Smith (9-1) is 1-0 so far in the UFC with a ridiculous KO win over Julian Erosa. He’s won his last five fights, and all eight of his ace wins have come by stoppage, with his lone defeat a TKO loss to John Gunther. I very much like watching Ma fight and I have to give the UFC matchmakers props for booking what is sure to be an exciting fight. But I am quite high on Smith and I believe he is going to come back in here and finish Ma’s win series. Look for Smith to be the favorite in the sportsbooks following his flashy UFC debut.
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